(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin can be trusted, but cautioned the United States will "just have to see what happens" over efforts to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons.
"You work for the best and prepare for the worst in this business. But I think it would be a terrible mistake not to take advantage of the opportunity," he told CNN's Piers Morgan at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York. "And, you know, look, Mr. Putin is very smart."
Watch more of the interview Wednesday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live," starting at 9 p.m. ET.
Inside the mind of Vladimir Putin
Clinton said he knows the Russian president well, and they have a "brutally blunt" relationship. He said Putin had never reneged on a personal agreement with him.
"He kept his word in all the deals we made," Clinton said.
Putin looks on as Kerry and Lavrov meet at UN
While Putin became president shortly after Clinton left the White House in 2001, he had served as Russia's prime minister during the latter end of Clinton's second term.
Shortly after Russia announced that it would work with the United States to try and forge a diplomatic solution on disarming Syria of its chemical stockpiles, many congressional lawmakers raised questions over whether Moscow could be trusted, given its strategic alliance with the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Obama focuses foreign policy on Iran and Middle East peace talks
President Barack Obama has even expressed doubt, but argues diplomacy would be preferable to military action, though he's not against using force if an agreement doesn't materialize.
During his speech Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly, Obama challenged the international community to enforce its ban on chemical weapons by agreeing to put pressure on Syria - even militarily - if the regime fails to relinquish those weapons to international control.
He called for a "strong" resolution from the Security Council, of which Russia is a member, to "verify that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments."
Bashar al-Assad says Syrian rebels may attack chemical weapons inspectors
U.N. inspectors returned to Syria on Wednesday to look into at least a half-dozen claims of chemical weapons use. The United Nations, as well as the United States, confirmed sarin gas was used in an attack on suburb of Damascus on August 21. U.S. officials blame al-Assad's forces and have said more than 1,400 were killed. Syria denies it used chemical arms.
– CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.
Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.
Best President in my lifetime.
Didn't Reagen try to explain that?
we can trust other leaders, just not our own – hurray for America!
Putin has more balls than any politician since Churchill. Too bad his ideals on some subjects do not make any sense at all. It's a shame who ever raised him.
Why is wild willy getting so much air time? He is a disgrace to this nation.
Oh gee thank's Bill... like we needed your approval.
If this is our best and brightest, I think I will pass.
"Putin has never reneged on a personal agreement" ... well, as long as you don't count that little personal agreement to give up power when his time appointed by the voters in Russia came to an end, several times
OMG, do you know why Putin did not renege on his agreement? Because he was the one who solely made all that crap in the first place. Do you really think that he would design anything (on paper or not) that he could not abide by? And he does not have to abide by anything regardless, because he always has an army of likewise KGB comrades that are more than willing to have all evidence disappear.
Ok, Clinton, Obama, that is stupidity overload, seriously.
Tye only liers came from the Bush administration.
Nobody believes Clinton.
Putin is a man of his word. He will make good. He might be stupid and crazy but his integrity is what counts here. Integrity is all we all have. His past has taught him that. He knows from history his future depends on it.
Trust is irrelevant. Obama trusted the British. What's the advantage/disadvantage of holding up 'my' end of the bargain. That's what talks.
Assad is trying to avoid an ICC prosecutor filing war crimes charges against him; and the rebels are ready to play with chems if the Syrian Army wants to make it an option ... so Assad has enough motivation. The Russians are harder to judge, but they recently suspended new weapon systems shipment to Syria because of payment issues. Their stake in the game may be the Damascus Money Pit. In the absence of a move by China's deep pockets, Putin may be trying to remove the chem weapon threat that would accompany a hostile Islamist Government in Damascus.
Can't we get rid of these Kennedy clan want to be's?
Enough of this pseudo dynasty and please bring some REAL statesmen.
Get a Life Bill Clinton and a job like the rest of us! Your has been, over, gone, and need to fad away into the sunset! Nobody cares what you have to say. Your a Liar, Manipulator, and Your Personal Conduct has brought shame to The White House. You and your wife will do what EVER it takes and everybody around you is a means to an end! The American Public should NEVER take what an IMPEACHED President has to say as the truth. Because he does not know what the truth is!
Wake up, Americans! Bill Clinton was one of the most successful president you have ever had – even better than George W. Bush and Barack Obama. America was in one of the most prosperous times during his presidency. Yes, he lied to the Court about his ordeal with the Monica and others. So what? It's been twenty years already. Get a life, everyone!!! Your concern now should be more on how America and the world the current and future threats. Of course Putin can be trusted. Russia won't be in today's state of economic growth without his persistence in reforming the country. Russia doesn't want war, nor countries other than the extremists.
Can not trust men that touch to terror communist Khmu ...
When is this pervert going to go away? I've never seen anything like it.
Politicians should be brutally blunt. It is not their job to be woosies to satisfy the liberal political correctness don't hurt our feelings BS. Americans are far worse off because of people afraid to speak the truth and say it the way it is. Cut the crap and get the work done.
Well people thought Clinton could be trusted too.............. at least before Monica Lewinsky :)
Get your facts together:
"While Putin became president shortly after Clinton left the White House in 2001, he had served as Russia's prime minister during the latter end of Clinton's second term". WRONG
Putin was already president in March 2000, while William Jefferson Clinton remained President of this country until January 20th 2001, so they had deals together as heads of state
Trust is the word,you can't find in US politicians.
Robert wants his ring back.
So, if Clinton is a liar and can not be trusted, can we still trust Putin because of Clinton's endorsement?
My head hurts...
Just an FYI for everyone a single event does not define the whole of Bill Clinton. Anger and fear should not dictate how you receive information.